Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom writes today that, “Tuesday’s Massachusetts upset is by far the most damaging blow to Obama’s beleaguered presidency. The loss to Republican Scott Brown of what Democrats had assumed was one of their party’s safest Senate seats has thrown the U.S. president’s entire agenda into disarray. …(And) it has particular repercussions for Canada.”
“Those outside the U.S. are fated to feel the blowback from Massachusetts… particularly in three key areas.”
“First, the display of strength by the populist right effectively dooms any future efforts by Congress to further stimulate the U.S. economy – with effects that will reverberate in Canada.”
“Unemployment in the U.S. is already at 10 per cent. Without new government stimulus, it promises to stay high. If Obama is persuaded to repeat Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 mistake and veer toward fiscal restraint, it will get worse. For Canadians, none of this is encouraging. The punditocracy talks of China pulling the world from slump. But the Chinese don’t buy cars made in Windsor. Nor do they buy much Alberta oil. Americans do. If Americans don’t have enough money to buy our goods, we suffer. It is still that simple.”
“Second, the loss of the Democrats’ Senate supermajority (of 60 seats) spells the end of any serious attempt to deal with climate change in the U.S. Since Canada’s federal Conservative government insists that it will only match American efforts, this means that little on the climate front will happen here as well.”
“Third, in order to assuage public opinion at home, Obama will be tempted to jettison his reasoned approach to foreign relations and replace it one more appealing to domestic jingoes.”
“The real danger for those of us outside the U.S. is that the president will be tempted into more foreign adventures in order to deflect attention from his failures on the domestic front. …Obama could decide to raise the ante further in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with immediate effect on Canadian troops there.”
Walkom’s column can be read at http://www.thestar.com/news/article/754717–walkom-obama-s-humbling-will-affect-canadian-policy?bn=1.